Illustrating truth and beauty inside a functioning cell

by Marty Crossland on December 11, 2009

David Bolinsky has done some awe-inspiring work to give us a glimpse of the complexity, beauty, and wonder associated with the functioning of cells in our bodies. He is engaged with the biology faculty at Harvard to develop a wondrous set of images and animations that help students understanding the structure and functioning of cells. Please watch this video to see some of the products of his work, and listen as he tells about his approach to this task. As you do, ask yourself the question, “How could my subject become more visual and how might I better illustrate what I want my students to learn?”

About David Bolinsky, from the TED website:

Medical illustrator and animator David Bolinsky has devoted his career to displaying scientific and medical concepts in a clear, fresh light.

Since the earliest days of computer animation, he knew this art could be a powerful tool for explaining scientific concepts in ways that traditional medical illustration simply couldn’t. Now, with XVIVO, the company he co-founded, he works with schools and with medical and scientific firms, turning complex processes into understandable, compelling films.

“The Inner Life of a Cell,” highlighted at TED2007, represents the leading edge of medical animation, in both its technical achievement and its focus on compelling, memorable action. Created as part of the BioVision initiative to help explain cellular processes to students at Harvard’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, the clip has captured the imagination of the press — and reportedly, of Hollywood.

“Who would have thought the inner workings of a white blood cell could be visually stunning? For those who fell asleep during high school biology classes, David Bolinsky’s presentation at the TED conference was a revelation.”

Wired News

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